Parental Leave for Dads: The Financial Reality & The Barriers

$1400 isn’t a great deal of money, but when you’re living off one income, it can certainly make a big difference!

$1400 is the cost of around 4,500 nappies, 56 tins of formula or 950 pouches of baby food. It is also the approximate amount of money new dads will receive if they claim  Dad and Partner Pay.

But this money comes at a price. Here’s what you need to know about Dad and Partner Pay and how it will affect your situation.

Who gets it?

Dads and partners do. Or the person who did not claim for Paid Parental Leave (18 weeks of paid leave at the National Minimum Wage). So, if you’ve claimed for the Paid Parental Leave, then your partner can claim for Dad and Partner Pay.

Under his parental leave, he will receive a payment of $719.35 a week for up to two weeks while on unpaid leave from work (gross). Dads can claim this anytime in the first year of bub’s life but they must NOT be getting any income during these two weeks.

There are a few other eligibility requirements for new dads:

  • They must meet a work test (work over a certain amount of hours)
  • They must be caring for the child on the days in the leave. So, no, dad, you can’t head out for a two-week fishing trip.
  • They must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • They must meet an income test (under $150,000 per year).

What dads need to do

First off, set some time to complete the forms. It’s not a five-minute job. Your partner will need a few key documents to confirm his identity as well as pay slips and a MyGov account to lodge the claim.

The Department of Human Services has a step by step guide and checklist to follow. It’s all done online as well which is a plus if you don’t like going into Centrelink but also hard if you aren’t very good with this sort of thing.

new dad

You will also need to nominate a time to go on leave and talk to the boss about it. Dad will also need to talk to his boss about taking parental leave. Dad and Partner Pay will not impact his current leave – such as vacation and annual leave.

Is it really worth it?

The total gross amount for new dads is $1,438.70 for two weeks off with the family. This is before the 15% holding tax so he will be getting $1,222.90 for the two weeks.

If your partner is making well over this amount, then it might not make sense to take the leave. After all, wouldn’t it be financially smarter to take two weeks off as annual leave?

If he’s making, let’s say, $1500 a week, then going down to $719 a week is going to throw the weekly budget out of balance. For some families who depend on this stable income every week, it just doesn’t seem to make sense.

For those who are in this position, there is an option to have your employer make up the extra amount so that you are still making the same income during these two weeks. This is something you will need to sort out when you are filling out your claim.

Taking two weeks of unpaid work also makes sense if dad doesn’t have any annual leave accrued or if he is in a casual position.

Dad at home holding baby and talking on phone \ parental leave

When to take parental leave

Some new dads will take time off work when bub is first born. If you don’t have annual leave saved for this, then, taking the Dad and Partner pay right away may work.

But it is also a smart move to wait. Newborns, after all, sleep a lot and you may find that having an extra set of hands at home with you later down the track actually works better. Like when baby is 11 weeks and you haven’t slept properly in three months and you’re about ready to lose your sh*t. This is a good time for dad to step in and stay home.

Other smart times to take dad and partner leave:

  • When mum first returns to work
  • School holidays, when the other kids are at home driving you mental
  • At the four-month sleep regression when you’re thisclose to throwing your non-sleeping infant in the bin
  • When it’s not too busy at work so dad doesn’t miss out on overtime (if he depends on this for income)

Every family is different, but, the bottom line is, an extra set of hands at home and an extra $1400 in the bank are big pluses during the first year of baby’s life. Just think of the nappies you can buy…

Barriers stopping dads from taking parental leave

Parental Leave Pay is only available to the main carer (which is usually the birth mother). However, if it makes more financial sense for mum to return to work (and mum’s happy to do so) she can transfer her parental leave to the husband as the primary carer.

Parental Leave Pay is available to individuals with a salary under $150,000. It offers 18 weeks of pay at minimum wage — that’s $719.35 per week before tax. See if you’re eligible here.

According to ABS figures, only 20% of Aussie dads take parental leave. Yet, it’s not just the financial side of things that stops many men from taking parental leave. A number of barriers have been identified:

  • Dads are not encouraged to take parental leave
  • Dads can feel they are frowned upon or mocked
  • Some workplaces simply don’t support men’s parental leave

For more information on the two-week parental leave for dads, check out Dad and Partner Pay. And make a strong cup of coffee before you start the claim process! You’ll need it. 😉

If your hubby is thinking about taking parental leave, here’s a good read for him — happy wife, happy life! And if he’s planning on taking time off in the early days, he might just need this super cool device (who says men can’t breastfeed?!).

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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